An eclectic and seminal collection of poetry from the Tudor period
Songs and Sonnets (1557), the first printed anthology of English poetry, was immensely influential in Tudor England and inspired many major Elizabethan writers, including Shakespeare. Collected by pioneering publisher Richard Tottel, it brought poems of the aristocracy—verses of friendship, war, politics, death, and love—into common readership for the first time. The major poets of King Henry VIII's court, Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, were first printed in the volume. Wyatt’s intimate poem about lost love that begins, "They flee from me, that sometime did me seek," and Surrey's passionate sonnet "Complaint of a lover rebuked" are joined here by a range of intriguingly anonymous poems from the Tudor era that are both moral and erotic, intimate and universal.
Amanda Holton is a visiting fellow at the University of Southampton and a specialist in Old and Middle English and the English language.
Tom MacFaul lectures in Renaissance poetry and drama at Corpus Christi College, Oxford.
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